Friday, April 9, 2021

The Russian Cage by Charlaine Harris

Can Gunnie Rose rescue Prince Eli from the Holy Russian Empire?

#1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Charlaine Harris is at her best in this alternate history of the United States where magic is an acknowledged but despised power in this third installment of the Gunnie Rose series.

Picking up right where A Longer Fall left off, this thrilling third installment follows Lizbeth Rose as she takes on one of her most dangerous missions yet: rescuing her estranged partner, Prince Eli, from the Holy Russian Empire. Once in San Diego, Lizbeth is going to have to rely upon her sister Felicia, and her growing Grigori powers to navigate her way through this strange new world of royalty and deception in order to get Eli freed from jail where he’s being held for murder.

Russian Cage continues to ramp up the momentum with more of everything Harris’ readers adore her for with romance, intrigue, and a deep dive into the mysterious Holy Russian Empire.

Don’t miss our reviews of other books in the Gunnie Rose series!
For book two, A Longer Fall, click HERE.


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The Russian Cage by Charlaine Harris

Book 3
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
B&N  ~  Google Play  ~  iTunes  ~  Kobo
Audiobook (US)  ~  Hardcover (US)
Saga Press (Simon & Schuster)




Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

The Russian Cage is the third (probably final) installment in the Gunnie Rose series. Not a standalone, must be read in series order.

In a mix of dry narration, intriguing world-building, and an exciting political conspiracy, the Gunnie Rose series has been one of the most original series I've read to date. Set in what I assume is an alternate version of the depression era, the United States have been dissolved, California now under the control of the Holy Russian Empire.

Lizbeth Rose is a gunnie, offering paid protection to escort precious cargo across the continent, which is how she met Eli and was pulled into his life, where she found a little sister she never knew existed.

Said little sister has secrets of her own, sequestered in an academy where she learns how to handle her magic, while also providing the life-saving blood transfusions for the tsar, Alexei Romanov. The sisters share correspondence, writing in code as the letters are read by the professors, where Felicia warns Lisbeth how Eli has been imprisoned.

Lizbeth is on the cold side emotionally, her narration beyond dry and stilted. This is by design, as this truly is a facet of her personality. This makes for a difficult read, where I had a hard time connecting with Lizbeth. At the same time, it also means when Lizbeth feels something, it hits the reader hard. Her connection to her sister and Eli is strong, the emotions ringing true to impact the reader. Her selflessness, her need to sacrifice to protect them, and her unconditional love and desire to make sure they're happy.

Lizbeth, along with Eli's best friend, Felix (who doesn't particularly like Lizbeth out of jealousy, as his draw to his best friend is more romantic in nature, I suspect), put animosity aside and do everything in their power to save Eli, which draws them into a political conspiracy, a plot to protect the current tsar from his own uncle and cousin, as well as protecting Eli's family from his older half-brothers.

Intriguing and fast-paced, the conspiracy is complex, the romance is an undercurrent, more befitting a classic novel, the emotions more sedate.

One issue I've had with then entire series is the way information is delivered in a stilted fashion, but I do understand that it is Lizbeth's way. Her daily events are catalogued in a laundry list of point A to point B to point C to point J with everything in between. Example: I took a bath, washed my hair, redressed, took a nap, sought out something to eat. I found a hotel restaurant and ate. Then I hit the street. Even when these events take place with other characters, it's a laundry list with no dialogue, nothing that connects the characters within the scene. I may understand why it's written this way, but it doesn't make it more engaging having that understanding. It's still jarring yet dry, filled with inane activities that usually are glossed over for the more important details in the plot.

I do highly recommend, but it's hard to pinpoint which genre of readers to recommend the series. I do believe that Charlaine Harris' fans will enjoy the series for the most part. However, those who enjoyed Sookie's humor, light-heartedness, warmth, and quirky every-woman vibe, they may be disappointed in Lizbeth. Lizbeth Rose is a strong heroine, but that strength also makes her seem cold, the emotions buried beneath logic and a hard mentality due to how she was raised. Two highly different heroines written by Charlaine Harris, drawing in different types of readers.

For the third time, Charlaine Harris plays with time, place, and historical accuracy in her Gunnie Rose series. This time, Lizbeth is fighting to save Eli from a political plot she doesn’t fully understand.

This is the book that made me fully engage with this series. During the first two books, I found myself constantly distracted by unreliable historic details. This time, I was too engrossed in the characters and the wonderfully complicated plot to question anything. This story is an exciting adventure and I love the characters who join Lizbeth in her efforts to save Eli and his family.

This book is fun in a way that the first two books weren’t. Lizbeth’s sister is wonderful and I’m already hoping we see more from her at some point. I love Eli’s world. The mix of Russian and American elements in this story create an unusual sense of drama. This isn’t my favourite of Charlaine Harris’ series but after book three, I’m enjoying it much more than I expected to at the start of book one. In some ways, this feels like a natural trilogy – but after finally settling into the unique world Harris has created, I find myself hoping for more.

BLOG NOTE: Per a Goodreads’ entry, there is currently a fourth book planned in the Gunnie Rose series. So this may not be the last we see of Lizbeth Rose after all.



Author Bio

CHARLAINE HARRIS is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Sookie Stackhouse and Midnight, Texas, fantasy/mystery series and the Aurora Teagarden, Harper Connelly, and Lily Bard mystery series. Her books have inspired HBO’s True Blood, NBC’s Midnight, Texas, and the Aurora Teagarden movies for Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. She has lived in the South her entire life.

Connect with Charlaine

Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  Instagram  ~  Website  ~  Goodreads



Saga Press

Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of The Russian Cage (Gunnie Rose #3) by Charlaine Harris to read and review.

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